Sources of probiotics are more common than modern advertising would have you believe. Probiotics are consumed by people all over the world and have been for thousands of years. In fact, many of the microbes that have been isolated and specifically described as probiotics came from these sources. The most common source is traditional, cultural fermented foods, but in developed countries, they may be found in:
Now, the probiotic police may say that the fermented foods and drinks may only contain "live cultures"
, not probiotics, because the numbers of probiotic microbes in them are
not high enough to satisfy the World Health Organization's definition
of probiotics. It is true that products that say "live cultures" on the
label may or may not contain enough beneficial microorganisms to be
statistically significant in scientific studies.It is also true that some of those live organisms may not be documented to have beneficial effects on health.
It is also true that sometimes saying "live cultures" is a marketing strategy to lure you into buying a product. So buyer-beware: you may not be getting a significant amount in your favorite products.
However, I believe that if you are
consistently eating or drinking raw, fermented foodstuffs, especially if
you make them yourself and incubate them with added probiotics, then
you probably are consuming enough to be considered "adequate amounts". For extra insurance, I recommend the addition of a probiotic supplement. To get a free copy of my Quick Start Guide to Probiotics: 12 Tips for Success, sign up for my newsletter here.
Can I prove that all cultured or fermented foods or drinks qualify as sources of probiotics? No, I can't because I don't have the microscopes and laboratory DNA/RNA analysis equipment to identify each and every one. Also, cultures and ferments depend on the microbes present. However, do I believe that those properly prepared cultured/fermented food and beverages confer health benefits to you? You bet I do!
Knowing where to get probiotics is simple with a little know-how!
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